Msgr. Sam Sirianni, rector of St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, incenses the casket of Msgr. James Joseph McGovern during his Nov. 13 Mass of Christian Burial in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Moorestown.  Mary Stadnyk photo
Msgr. Sam Sirianni, rector of St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, incenses the casket of Msgr. James Joseph McGovern during his Nov. 13 Mass of Christian Burial in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Moorestown. Mary Stadnyk photo

Msgr. James Joseph McGovern, a priest of the Diocese of Trenton for 61 years, died Nov. 2 at age 87. His funeral Mass was celebrated Nov. 13 in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Moorestown, where he had served as pastor from 1981 until his retirement from active ministry in 2004. Msgr. Sam Sirianni, rector of St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, was principal celebrant of the Mass and homilist. Concelebrants included Father Christopher Picollo, current pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, and Father Jack Bogacz, parochial vicar.

In his homily, Msgr. Sirianni reflected on how the Gospel from St. Matthew, 25:31-46, was “symbolic of Monsignor McGovern’s life.”

Along with feeding the hungry in the Cathedral in Camden or those he encountered while on mission visits to Jamaica and Haiti, Msgr. McGovern fed the truth to those people “who desired to know God.”

“He lived the Gospel with joy and with a commitment to serving not only Christ, but the Body of Christ, which is the Church. He loved the Church, the universal Church and the parishes where he served,” Msgr. Sirianni said referring to Msgr. McGovern’s assignments as parochial vicar in Immaculate Conception Parish, Spotswood; St. Mary of the Lakes Parish, Medford; St. Anthony Parish (now part of Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish),  Hamilton, and St. Peter Parish, New Brunswick. Msgr. McGovern was pastor in St. Andrew Parish, Avenel, from 1976 to 1981, then was appointed pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish.

“He loved Good Counsel,” Msgr. Sirianni said.

More to come.